Christmas Angels (How To Cope With Grief During The Holidays)
The holiday season is filled to the rim with good cheer, music, parties, laughter, traditions, lights and great food; yet there are still those of us who experience an overwhelming sadness in the midst of all the Christmas joy. For anyone who has lost a loved one, grief creeps in and threatens to dull the season’s sparkle. It might be a recent event, or even years ago, but there is still a void and the sheer fullness of the holiday can often highlight their absence. Maybe you miss sharing a special tradition, like driving around to see the holiday lights, baking cookies or opening just one present on Christmas eve. Perhaps they had a specific Christmas ‘job’ they did so well; like placing the star on the top of the tree or making their one-of-a-kind orange spice cake every year. You wonder if the holidays will ever be the same. Well, in truth, they may not ever be the ‘same’, but with a little time, love and a sprinkle of Christmas spirit, they can become joyful again.
The first thing I would encourage you to realize is that your loved one (and I like to think of them as Christmas Angels, at least during this time of year) would really want you to enjoy the holidays. They would not wish for you to dwell on your sorrow or remove yourself from the festivities. You do not need to feel guilty for finding enjoyment during this time of year, and you should not boycott the cheer in an attempt to prove your love and ongoing sadness. It is obvious you will miss your loved one, but their desire would be for you to feel the love and good will that flows in abundance at Christmas.
So how do you connect the two; the joy of the season and the pain of your loss? What are some real and tangible things you can do to honor your lost loved one and still celebrate the holiday spirit? Let’s look at a few:
Light a candle every night in their honor. If their life was a light in to yours, use this symbol as a reminder.
Make a donation, in their name, to their favorite charity or volunteer for an organization they believed in.
Buy a unique ornament that represents their spirit or essence and hang it on your tree.
Gather with family or friends and share stories about past holidays where your loved one did something sweet, funny or memorable. Pull out pictures from your album and display them in Christmas frames.
Put a fresh flower bouquet on the Christmas dinner table in honor of their memory.
Last, by not least, give yourself permission to feel, whatever the ‘feeling’ is. If you are sad, take a moment to just be sad. If you find yourself having fun and being happy, go with that too! It’s ok!
I understand that all of these suggestions will not work for everyone, or for others the pain is still too fresh to consider any. Each person must grieve and then heal at their own pace. However, my dear Hopefuls, it is my desire that you do not let the holidays pass in a blur of mourning. As the carols play on the radio and the scent of fir/pine fills the air, picture your own Christmas Angel looking down on you with love.
Take comfort in the memories and past shared holidays and believe they truly want the brightest and best season for you now! Take the moments to cry, pray and remember, but also take the moments to share, laugh and love. The Christmas season is a beautiful, magical time of year and we should all do our part to celebrate the most wonderous and ultimate Gift of Love.
To all of you, my Hopefuls, I wish a peaceful and love-filled holiday. May God’s peace rest in your hearts if you are missing someone dear this year.
May your Christmas Angel bring warmth and comfort.
Hope With Abandon!